Come and meet Kent & Sussex Section at the Vintage Nostalgia Festival at Stockton, near Warminster, Wiltshire – 31 May to 2 June 2024

by | Apr 23, 2024

Come and visit the Veteran-Cycle Club at the Vintage Nostalgia Festival set in the Wylie Valley, Wiltshire where our Kent and Sussex Section will be hosting the Arthur Vivian Puckle Bicycle Sales and Repair Shop (Duppas Hill and Wallington).  The staff are eager to show you their wares and are proud of the latest (in 1930s) work and wheel-truing stands, and tools.  There is also an abundant supply of catalogues, including the latest from Brown Brothers, plus lamp and pump displays.  Also on show will be a training machine owned by Romain Maes, winner of the 1935 Tour de France.

The owner of this fictitious shop was very real and was the great grandfather of Kent and Sussex Secretary, Claire Hitchcock – you can read about him below.  Claire started collecting vintage cycles in 2012 with her first full restoration a 1932 F W Evans with Super Monitor and Resilion brakes.  The era that interest her most is from the mid 1930s to mid 1950s and she particularly likes the racing machines from the 1950s.  Her ambition is to track down a Trigwell and Sons Regent Rational Ordinary from 1890s as her great grandfather had one built for him for racing and hill climbing.

Claire particularly likes to promote the Veteran-Cycle Club with the Kent and Sussex Section by doing static displays especially as the sections as a wide diversity of riders and machines from the 1900s up to modern e-bikes which fit in the historic and personal context of her great grandfather.  She has even built a tribute machine dedicated to her ancestor, Arthur Puckle, which will be on display at the show.

The following is an article written by Claire and published in V-CC magazine, The Boneshaker, Winter 2016:

Arthur V Puckle, great grandfather of Claire Hitchcock, the Kent and Sussex secretary.

“Arthur was born on 24 December 1862, the son of Robert Arthur Puckle of Duppas Hill, Croydon.  He went to Dulwich College and then worked for Brown Shipley and Co, merchants and bankers.  On 11 July 1894 he married Jessie Grant, the daughter of Angus McPhail, a cotton spinner of Glasgow.  The couple had five children, Joan, Margaret, Basil, Robert (Bobby) and Duncan and they lived in a house, now demolished, called Pencraig on Harcourt Road, Wallington Surrey.

Brixton Bicycle Club was formed in June 1877 with 52 members and a dress code of navy blue uniform.  A limited number of tricycles were also admitted.  The headquarters, or clubhouse, was listed as Ridgway Road, Loughborough Junction, SW London and the Hon Sec was R L Philpot, ‘Thorndean’, Romala Road, Tulse Hill;  the Club Captain was H A White.  Entrance fee was not an insignificant 10/- (50p).

I do not know when Arthur joined Brixton BC, but believe he road an Ordinary in the 1970s, raced on one between 1884 and 1890 and won a lot of medals in time trials;  he was also the only rider to complete a hill climb event up Titsey Hill in Surrey on an Ordinary , when he recorded a time of 8m 12s.  This annual competition was run by Catford CC and was held on 17 August 1889.  According to The First 50 Years of the Catford Cycling Club, it was the third such event and the first to be held on Titsey Hill, rather than Westerham Hill.  The first ten were all riding safeties, followed by a tricycle, an Ordinary (Puckle) and another safety;  so 13 finishers out of 24 starters.  Chater Lea was first with 6m 10s, second Napier (of engineering fame) with 6m 43s;  both were Catford men.  Sangster, of the North Road was fifth at 7m 1s, so Puckle was in august company.  The following year the event moved to Toys Hill and Puckle was one of three Ordinary riders – none reached the finish.

A V Puckle also cycled the length and breadth of the UK on an Ordinary and recorded all his routes on his Letts’ cycling map;  it really is an inspiring record of the Victorian cycling era.  He was a special constable from 1914 to 1922 and died in 1927.  Like many men of that time he was a very heavy smoker.

He is mentioned in the Badminton Library Cycling, 1896 (p108, as an umpire at the rather prestigious meeting at the Paddington Track on 9 July 1890.  This was attended by H R H the Prince of Wales and H R H the Princess of Wales.  The Judge was George Lacy Hillier.”